November 22, 2021

Couple window shops for holidays

The turkey isn’t on the table yet, but retailers are already preparing for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, heavily advertising their Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday doorbuster sales and in-store/online discounts. And for good reason! This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts the highest holiday retail sales on record as in-person holiday shopping returns. Last year (remember 2020?) most Black Friday shopping took place online as consumers were anxious to shop in person thanks to the global pandemic.

This year, according to the NRF, holiday sales during November and December are expected to grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 holiday spending. Many people will get a jump start on their holiday shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving by looking for deals at brick-and-mortar stores and online storefronts between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Whether you plan to shop in the big box stores, at a local small business, or online, there are ways to beat the madness and save! Here are a few tips LUSO put together to help you shop smart this holiday season:

Do Your Homework

Don’t get caught in the frenzy of the holiday shopping season. It’s tempting to toss items in your cart because the sales are too good to pass up but giving into the impulse could actually cost you money! Do your homework and figure out your holiday shopping list/budget before you shop. By giving yourself a set budget plus a list of items to purchase for each person, you can limit the potential for impulse purchases. Having a shopping list prepared in advance also allows you to compare deals from retailers. It’s a good idea to check out the price of the items you wish to buy at multiple stores today and compare it to the advertised post-Thanksgiving “sale” price to get an idea of exactly how big a discount you’re really getting.

Be Tech Savvy

Did you know there are web browser add-ons and mobile apps that can help you ensure you’re getting a holiday bargain?

  • Honey is a browser extension/mobile app that does the work for you: when you’re shopping online, it searches the web for coupon codes applicable to your specific purchases before you check out. If it finds one, the code will automatically be applied to your cart to save you money.
  • CamelCamelCamel is another browser extension that tracks price fluctuations on Amazon. If you have a Wishlist in your Amazon account, it can watch the price history of those items to ensure you’re not jumping at a “discount” that’s only marginally below a previously marked up price.

Protect Your Identity

Whether you shop in-person or online, it’s always important to safeguard your personal information! Keeping your personal data safe and always being on the lookout for fraudulent transactions could help you protect identity theft:

  • Keep an eye on your credit card and bank statements and alert your financial institution of any fraudulent charges. LUSO Federal Credit Union members benefit from Fraud Detection, a 24/7 fraud monitoring and detection service. When a transaction is not consistent with your usual card activity, you will get a call from “Fraud Detection” to verify the authenticity of the transaction.
  • Download a digital wallet app to your mobile phone and you won’t need to carry your debit or credit card with you. Digital wallets – like Apple PaySamsung Pay, or Google Pay – allow you to make secure payments with just your mobile device. And since most digital wallets encrypt your account information, the account number that is transmitted to the merchant when you make a payment is not your actual account number. Your account details are kept secure, making it harder for a security breach to happen.

Above all, don’t be duped by the hype of the holiday shopping kickoff. Be patient and prepared and you’ll find the best deals.

LUSO Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative dedicated to providing members with quality financial services and products. We at LUSO pride ourselves on serving the financial needs of our members and helping them save for the special occasions in life. 

Feel free to contact our Ludlow or Wilbraham branch toll free at 1-844-LUSO-FCU.

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